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Federal Pacific Panels


As a homeowner in Elmhurst Providence County, Rhode Island, you may not think much about your electrical panel on a daily basis. However, this crucial component of your home’s electrical system plays a significant role in powering your daily life. From powering your appliances to ensuring your safety, your electrical panel is the backbone of your home’s electricity.

At B&K Electric, we understand the importance of a properly functioning electrical panel for your home. As a family-owned and operated business based in Warwick, RI, we have been proudly serving the residents of Cranston, Warwick, and all of Rhode Island for over seventeen years. Our team of skilled electricians specializes in electrical repair, panel maintenance, and installation. We are committed to providing top-quality services and ensuring the safety and satisfaction of our customers.

In this article, we will dive into the world of Federal Pacific Panels and their impact on homeowners in Elmhurst, Providence County. We will discuss the history of these panels, their potential hazards, and the importance of hiring a licensed electrician for their maintenance and replacement.

Understanding Federal Pacific Panels

Established in 1929, Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) was a popular manufacturer of circuit breakers and electrical distribution equipment. For decades, their products were widely used in homes and businesses all over the United States, including in Elmhurst, Providence County.

However, in the 1980s, concerns began to arise about the safety of FPE panels. Independent testing revealed that FPE breakers had a higher failure rate than other brands, and could potentially fail to trip in the event of a circuit overload or short circuit. This meant that the breakers could not protect the electrical system from overheating and could potentially lead to electrical fires.

Despite these findings, FPE continued to manufacture and sell their panels until they declared bankruptcy in 1980. By this time, millions of these panels had already been installed in homes across the nation, including in Elmhurst, Providence County.

The Hazards of Federal Pacific Panels

The main issue with FPE panels is their inability to provide proper overcurrent protection. When a circuit overload or short circuit occurs, the breakers should trip and cut off the power supply to prevent overheating and potential electrical fires. However, due to a design flaw, FPE breakers may not trip as intended, leaving the circuit vulnerable to overheating and causing serious safety hazards.

In addition, FPE panels have been found to have loose connections and inadequate ratings, which can lead to arcing and overheating. This increases the risk of electrical fires and poses a major threat to the safety of your home and family.

What to Look Out For

If your home was built between the 1950s and 1980s, it is highly likely that it has a Federal Pacific Panel. However, even if your home was built more recently, there is a possibility that the panel was never replaced and may still be a hazard. Here are some signs that you may have a faulty FPE panel in your home:

1. Breakers tripping frequently: If your breakers trip often, it could be a sign that they are unable to handle the load and are overheating.

2. Burning smell: If you notice a burning smell or see smoke coming from the panel, it could be a sign of loose connections and overheating, which can lead to electrical fires.

3. Sizzling or buzzing sounds: If you hear strange noises coming from your panel, it could mean that there is arcing happening inside, which is a potential hazard.

4. Warm or hot panel: Your panel should never feel warm or hot to the touch. If it does, it could be a sign of overheating and should be addressed immediately.

Hiring a Licensed Electrician for Panel Maintenance and Replacement

As a homeowner, it is crucial to regularly maintain and replace your electrical panel to ensure the safety and functionality of your home. When it comes to FPE panels, it is best to hire a licensed electrician who is trained and experienced in handling these specific panels. Attempting to handle the maintenance or replacement of a Federal Pacific Panel on your own can be dangerous and should be left to a professional.

At B&K Electric, our team of licensed and experienced electricians has the knowledge and expertise to handle any issues with your panel. We offer panel maintenance services to ensure your panel is functioning properly and can also help you replace your FPE panel with a safer, modern panel. Don’t risk your home’s safety – trust our experts to handle your panel needs.

The bottomline

Federal Pacific Panels have been a major concern for homeowners in Elmhurst, Providence County, and across the nation. With their potential hazards and safety issues, it is crucial for homeowners to be aware of their panel type and take necessary precautions. If you suspect that you have a Federal Pacific Panel in your home, do not hesitate to contact a licensed electrician to ensure the safety of your home and family.


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